More than $3.5 million in federal government funding to Royal Botanical Gardens, and its partners in the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark, is expected to support improvements to local ecological corridors.
Parks Canada announced the $3,552,120 grant on Jan. 26, for a two-year pilot project under its $60.6-million National Program for Ecological Corridors launched last spring. Specific details of projects the funding might be used for were not yet available.
A backgrounder issued by Parks Canada states “This funding will support activities including land securement, habitat restoration, landowner engagement and participation and engagement of Indigenous communities through direct participation and knowledge sharing.”
Tomasz Wiercioch, co-ordinator of the Cootes to Escarpment EcoPark System at RBG, said the Ecological Corridors pilot program, funded by the federal grant, will help property owners in the area between Cootes Paradise and Niagara Escarpment better “understand and develop the local landscape as a set of ecological corridors through EcoPark partner projects.”
Wiercioch said projects will restore habitat in key corridors, through removal of invasive species, planting native plants and barrier enhancement or removal to help species cross built areas and roads.
He said projects will also reach out to private landowners to assist with improving the landscape between protected areas, investigate opportunities to protect additional areas and invite Indigenous communities and Knowledge Holders to participate and share knowledge regarding the land and its management.
“In addition, this program will investigate and apply monitoring and measures to gauge the success of the overall program from the perspective of ecological corridor function,” Wiercioch said.
He said EcoPark partners play an important role in addressing biodiversity and climate change.